More Enforceable Noise Ordinance Passes Evansville City Council

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More Enforceable Noise Ordinance Passes Evansville City Council

Only one man, Jacob Keating, was able to enforce noise complaints in Evansville. As the city ordinance was written, only the EPA was allowed to enforce noise complaints, and Keating is the only man in that office. It created a problem in the city of Evansville; there were nearly 2,000 noise complaints in 2017, and Keating only works from 8-5. Now Keating will have lots more help from his friends at the Evansville Police department.
That problem wasn’t the original reason the Evansville City Council took up the issue. That came after residents of Harbour’s Edge started to complain of loud noise coming from KC’s Marina Pointe.
The threat of the noise ordinance led KC’s Marina Pointe to make over $100,000 in sound mitigation upgrades. Residents of Harbour’s Edge have said that this has helped tremendously.
So with that problem on the back burner, the Evansville City Council was free to focus on a noise ordinance that would help the enforcement problem. After a month-long table and listening to endless testimony from business owners who believed a noise ordinance could chill business and neighborhood associations who want the ordinance so people could sleep a little easier, the Evansville City Council finally came up with a plan that passed unanimously.
The original noise ordinance was presented at Monday’s Evansville City Council meeting with an additional 6 amendments plus the ability for councilmembers to add more.

The original ordinance includes language that isn’t much different from the new ordinance. In both, they have a limit on noise at 75 decibels outside at the property line. The new part of this ordinance allows for the Evansville Police Department to enforce it along with the EPA.

During the meeting, there was plenty of bickering between members of the council with regards to all of the amendments. The meeting wore on and so did people’s patience, but in the end, Evansville City Council got it done.

The first amendment allows for municipal vehicles to be exempt from the noise ordinance. This allows for city or county snow plows to plow with impunity.

The next amendment creates a limit on when landscapers can do their work. The amendment allows from dusk until dawn to mow the lawn and trim the hedges without fear of a noise complaint. That is except for Sundays, which starts at 7 AM.

The amendment on the waste pickup was convoluted in its passing. An original amendment passed that created a limit on when a pickup is allowed in the Downtown TIP District. It took almost 15 minutes for another amendment to come along that completely nullified the earlier one passed. This amendment, which is the one on the books, completely loosens restrictions on when waste pickup can happen in Evansville. This came after a representative from Republic Services said it might create more traffic and a safety hazard if they weren’t allowed to pick up early in the morning.

Another amendment passed deals with noisy pets. The dogs can bark and the cats can meow as they please during the day, but after 9 PM and before 6 AM if they have long prolonged noise there could be a noise complaint.

The final amendment had the most disagreement. The way it was originally written, police would be able to come into homes to take a reading for noise levels inside. It was originally written to be at 40 decibels, but Councilman McGinn argued to raise that number stating that’s how loud a refrigerator can be. So after it was raised to 55, Councilwoman Mosby argued that there shouldn’t be any noise reading going on inside. That’s how the amendment passed, the only way readings can happen is outside.

The ordinance is viewed as a win by many parties. Evansville City Council President Brinkmeyer says it was a good exercise in government compromise. The United Neighborhoods of Evansville are excited that noise complaints will start to be taken legitimately. Even folks from the bars thought the end result wasn’t too overbearing.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. “The amendment allows from dusk until dawn to mow the lawn…”
    Uh, you might want to re-read that sentence. Dusk is when the sun goes down, dawn is,when the sun comes up.

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